No single ingredient does more positive things for food than salt.

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We’re not just talking about taking French fries from good to great, either.

Salt does more than improve flavor. It intensifies it. It reduces bitterness and enhances sweetness. It provides balance. It’s a natural preservative, it helps bread rise, and it’s even a critical ingredient in ice cream. It’s equally at home encrusted on a thick steak as it is on a caramel.

And, amazingly, it does all of this without adding a single calorie.

Watch a show like Top Chef and, when the judges give a thumbs down on a dish, odds are you’ll hear them say “it could have used more salt.”

No wonder it’s been the secret ingredient of the human race for 8,000 years. And the one no chef can live without. Today, food technologists rely on salt to satisfy consumer preferences in color, texture, appearance and aroma. And, all evidence suggests that consumers do have preferences, and they prefer the attributes that only salt can deliver.